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California Leads the Nation in Pedestrian Accidents

Rain, snow and ice make life more hazardous for motor vehicle drivers and passengers. Often forgotten, however, is the ubiquitous pedestrian, though not by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA keeps detailed records regarding pedestrian accidents and provides guidance on how to stay safe as a walker.

Startling Statistics

More pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles in cities than anywhere else. This is reflected by the statistics from states with the largest populations. Not surprisingly, California leads the nation in pedestrian fatalities with 620 in a year. Florida and Texas follow with 490 and 416 deaths respectively. New York placed fourth with 294 pedestrian fatalities for the most recent year statistics have been completed. In the same year, more than 69,000 pedestrians were injured or killed in the United States. On average, a pedestrian is injured every eight minutes in this country.

More than 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities are at non-intersection locations. If you're a jaywalker, you definitely have a shorter life expectancy than those who cross at intersections. Weather surprisingly does not play a large role in most accidents. Almost 90 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occurred in normal weather conditions.

Unlike weather, the time of day does have a major effect on pedestrian accidents. More than 70 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents happen at night. Females have a much higher chance of avoiding injuries than their male counterparts. Men accounted for 70 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008. Teenagers fared the worst as far in number of injuries; the highest rates of injuries were among the 10-to-15 and 16-to-20-year-old age groups. Most injures to those younger than age 16 occurred between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. For the rest of us, the worst time to be on the streets was on the weekends. Nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities happened on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Safety Recommendations

To avoid becoming one of these statistics, the NHTSA recommends the following:

  • Cross streets at the crosswalk, checking traffic in both directions before crossing.
  • Increase your visibility at night by wearing reflective clothing and/or by carrying a flashlight.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, but if you must use the street, walk in the direction facing traffic.
  • Be careful at intersections. Even though drivers are required to yield the right of way, many do not.